Vehicles purchased by consumers in February averaged 23.7 miles per gallon, up from 22.7 mpg in February 2011 and from 20.4 mpg in February 2008, the Michigan Transportation Research Institute said.
The Los Angeles Times reported Monday 24 percent of the vehicles sold by Ford Motor Co. in February were small cars, Ford analyst Erich Merkle said.
That is a quick jump from December, where less than 20 percent of the vehicles sold by Ford were in the small car segment.
Gasoline prices are rising at a torrid pace. On Monday, 70 lawmakers in Washington sent a letter to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission demanding a tougher stance on oil speculators.
In the past month, the national average price of gasoline jumped nearly 30 cents, climbing from $3.475 per gallon to $3.767 per gallon, AAA said.